coolcarrigan-featured

Coolcarrigan House & Garden

coolcarrigan-collage

Click here for Opening Hours & Admission Cost

To find out more about Coolcarrigan House & Garden call, +353 45 863 527.

Coolcarrigan House & Gardens is a hidden oasis on the edge of the Bog of Allen near Coill Dubh, with a fantastic 15 acre garden full of rare and unusual trees and a small church in a woodland setting, surrounded by a moat.

Coolcarrigan House is an attractive Georgian house built in the 1830's and originally used as a shooting lodge.  The house which has been added to and modernised over the years, was built by Robert Mackay Wilson.  The church, built by the same architect, has some very interesting stained glass windows and Gaelic scripts on the walls chosen by Douglas Hyde, the first President of Ireland.

The gardens underwent a major renovation program in the 1970's after a windstorm. During this renovation major replanting took place with the assistance of Sir Harold Hillier, the eminent English plantsman. What was created is a very unusual collection of trees and shrubs, many of which will not be found elsewhere in Ireland. It is open to visitors and is visited by many worldwide gardening groups and international dendrologists.

Paths meander through the eight acre garden and create surprises and vistas around every corner. The arboretum was extended by an additional seven acres in 2003 with many new rarities, and a special wild flower meadow.

Find out more about Coolcarrigan Gardens here

larchill-gardens-featured

Larchill Arcadian Garden

larchill-collage

 

Click here for Opening Hours & Admission Cost

To find out more about Larchill Arcadian Garden call, +353 1 628 7354.

Created between 1740 and 1780 Larchill Arcadian Garden is a ‘Ferme Ornée’ or Ornamental Farm and is the only surviving, near complete, garden of its type in Europe. The Ferme Ornée gardens of the mid 18th century were an expression in landscape gardening of the Romantic Movement. Emulating Arcadia, a pastoral paradise was created to reflect Man’s harmony with the perfection of nature.  Freed from the restrictions of the 17th century formal garden, the Ferme Ornée represented the first move towards the fully fledged landscape parkland designs of Capability Browne.

Although the follies became semi derelict and obscured by undergrowth and trees, the mystery and beauty of Larchill is still recognised.  Folklore stories of hauntings and the ‘strange’ nature of Larchill ensured its continued notoriety.

In 1994 Paddy Bowe, Garden Historian, visited Larchill and was the first to realise that Larchill was indeed a Ferme Ornée and an important ‘lost’ garden, four years of restoration then took place.

Visitors can walk through beech and lime avenues leading from the formal Walled Garden adjoining Larchill House and the Gothicised Farmyard, around an  8 acre Lake, linking follies and gazebo seats, all with marvelous views of the Dublin mountains. The original 18th century layout extended further to include two more lakes,  waterways and a fish hatchery.

Find out more about Larchill Arcadian Garden here

History of The Market House (Kildare Town Heritage Centre)

The Kildare Town Heritage Centre is an exciting visitor attraction situated in the picturesque town of Kildare. The centre is an ideal point of departure from which to explore the ancient treasures of the town. It is housed in the restored and refurbished nineteenth century Market House, which is situated in the hub of Kildare town. This unique historic building, with its vista of windows, designed to oversee the market place, has been given a new lease of life and is an impressive addition to the heritage assets of the town.  The Heritage Centre was formally opened on the 17th September 2001 by the then Minister for Finance and T.D. Mr. Charlie McCreevy.

Kildare Town Heritage Centre

The building has a long and varied history. According to the Statutes of Henry VI (1458) a market had been held in Kildare ‘from time whereof memory runs not,’ and an official weekly market, to be held on Thursdays, was authorised by Henry VIII in the Charter of Kildare of 1515. A survey of the Earl of Kildare’s estate in the town by Emerson in 1674 mentions a town hall but not a Market House. Since the location of the Town Hall cannot be determined we might suggest it was situated here, centrally in what became the Market Square and the focus of activity in the town. Reference to the ‘Market Place’ can be found in the Registry of Deeds Office in 1726 and 1751 and although the recognisable triangular area of the modern ‘Square’ is unnamed in John Rocque’s Map of Kildare of 1757 it was designated the Market Square’ in Thomas Sherrard’s Map of Kildare of 1798 and subsequent maps.

Rocque however does identify ‘The Market House,’ in the centre of what is later known as the Market Square on the site of the modern Heritage Centre. According to Rocque it consisted of three adjoining buildings with a yard in 1757. If we accept Emerson made no mention of a Market House in 1674 because it did not exist, then the Market House was built sometime between 1674 and 1757 (however he may not have mentioned it because it was not part of the Earl of Kildare’s estate, or because the town hall and market place fulfilled the same function at that stage). By 1798 (Sherrard) it had developed into a singular rectangular building on the same site with another section to the Cathedral or western side. This projection had disappeared by 1817 but a small northern (facing Nugent Street/Station Road) projection could be noticed on the 1838 Ordnance Survey Map of the town. Interestingly a well was noted by Rocque in 1757 to the east (Dublin side) of the Market House, a pump in 1817 and a fountain in 1838; presumably referring to the same feature, a water source for the town’s inhabitants. A pump was used on the Market Square until the early 20th century but was eventually removed. In 1973 an ancient well was discovered on the Market Square but filled in for safety reasons. It was re-discovered in 2003 and, now restored, has become a permanent feature on the Market Square.

According to Niall Meagher, former Co. Architect, while it may have incorporated an earlier structure, the present building dates from the nineteenth century. In 1838 the Market House was clearly identified as a public building. Valued at £5 in 1844, it was exempt from rates. Not only was the Market Square a centre of economic activity it provided a space/forum for town gatherings and meetings. This was captured by the ‘Illustrated London News’ on the 8 January 1881 in a drawing of a Land League Meeting, with the Market House in the background, showing leases of the Duke of Leinster being burned on the end of a ‘98 pike. Originally it may have been a single storey building but by the mid-nineteenth century at least it had been re-developed with an upper level. By the mid-1880’s a water tank had been placed in the roof of the Market House as a receptacle for water being pumped from St. John’s Well at Tully.

By the mid-twentieth century the Market House had fallen into disrepair and was bought for £300 by Kildare County Council. It was carefully reconstructed in the early 1970’s and a bus shelter, public toilets and small museum were incorporated into the new building. The cast-iron water gauge dated 1885 was retained on the outside of the building as was a plaque celebrating the completion of the Kildare Waterworks in 1886. It won an An Taisce Award in 1973 because of the improvement it made to the appearance of the town.
A Heritage Project Committee representing the three second-level schools was formed in 1992 to campaign for Heritage Status for the Town of Kildare. The designation of Heritage Town provided an impetus for the reinvigoration of the Market House. The European Development Fund provided £230,000 towards the project with additional funding coming from Kildare County Council (£50,000) and local contributions. Once building began the reconstruction and refurbishment took a little less than 2 years and Kildare Town Heritage Centre was officially unveiled in September 2001.

The Heritage Centre contains a multi-media exhibition centre telling the story of Kildare, past and present, combining attractive fixed panels with a video trail where your host Cogitosus, a 7th century monk will take you on a historic journey from the time when St. Brigid established her church in 480. A.D. This video presentation lasts approximately 12 minutes. The visitor can catch a fascinating glimpse of the past before visiting the many other attractions, which include the Japanese Gardens, the Grand Canal the National Stud and the Curragh racecourse. The Centre is the Regional Tourist Office for local and county-wide tourist information. It also has a vibrant shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and jewellery.

By: Mario Corrigan

Tom McCutcheon is the Manager of Kildare Town Heritage Centre

Mary O' Connor is Chairperson of Kildare Town Heritage Committee.

Kildare Town Heritage Centre
Market Square, Kildare Town
Tel: 00353 45 530672
E-Mail: info@kildareheritage.com

curragh-featured

The Curragh

The name Curragh comes from the Irish word "currach" which translates as "plain", a place of the running horse.  The Curragh is Ireland's largest, finest, and possibly only, example of a surviving ancient lowland unenclosed grassland. The 5,000 acres stretch from Kildare Town to Newbridge. The Curragh is surrounded on all sites by good, fertile lands however, it itself supports nutrient poor acid grasslands, severely deficient in lime and phosphorous.

The Curragh is unique in terms of it's natural and cultural heritage.  This distinctive landscape houses the main training center for the Irish Army, a military museum, the premier racecourse for Ireland, Pollardstown Fen, Ireland's oldest golf club, and many ancient barrows and raths.

Many famous Irish characters, including St. Brigid, the patroness of Ireland, Fionn MacCumhail and in more recent times, Dan Donnelly, the boxer are synonymous with this special place. The Curragh is also the birthplace of motor racing as it is where the first ever formal road race in Britain & Ireland was held with the Gordon Bennett Rally, 1903.

Click here to learn more about The Story of The Curragh

Things to see and do at The Curragh

Accommodation

discoverireland-logo

How to get to The Curragh

42bbd4_b3a7d38c176647e8b01b8bf8b8018cf9

The Curragh is also very accessible from Kildare Town or Newbridge.

outdoor-kids-acts-featured

Outdoor Kids Attractions

kildare-farm-foods

Kildangan, Co. Kildare
Phone: 00 353 45 526 774
Email: ordering@kildarefarmfoods.com

Kildare Farm Foods

This attraction offers free entry to the open farm.  Indoor facilities include, a crazy golf course, train rides & a well-stocked shop and café... click here to find out more!

Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 10:30am - 5pm.

clonfert-pet-farm-logo1

Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Phone: 00 353 1 628 5422

Clonfert Pet Farm

A visit to Clonfert Pet Farm ensures a fantastic fun filled day out for the whole family and offers great value for money. There are lots of animals for the kids to learn about, 2 outdoor playground areas both with bouncy castles, an indoor play area, outdoor mini golf, go-karts, a football pitch and plenty of picnic areas. Don't forget to find the secret fairy garden and see can you spot the little people!

Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 10:00am - 6pm.

/su_column]

lullymore

Donadea, Co. Kildare
Phone: 00 353 45 909 555
Email: info@lullymoreheritagepark.com

Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park

Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park is a great way to spend an entire day.  This attraction offers visitors the chance to learn all about the rich heritage of rural Ireland, it's peatlands and folklore in a fun and exciting environment. Lullymore is packed with acitvities from the large outdoor play area with 18 hole mini golf course and pet farm, to train trips, treasure hunts, magical nature trails to the Fairy Village and more. It also offers plenty of indoor options such as an indoor play centre and café.

Opening Hours: Fri - Sun: 11am - 5pm (Last entry 3pm). Also open on school holidays.

bogofallennaturecentreexpo

Lullymore West, Rathangan, Co. Kildare
Phone: 00 353 45 909 555
Email: bogs@ipcc.ie

Bog of Allen Nature Centre

There is so much to do at this attraction to keep the kids and adults occupied for the entire day! For example, a quiz to fill, a scavanger hunt, colour dabs activity and free nets and basins for children to fish for mini-beasts in the ponds at the nature centre. There is a boardwalk trail on Lodge Bog and families regularly attend special event tours organised at weekends. Adults can enjoy a refreshing cup of tea or coffee at the picnic tables provided in the wildlife gardens while the kids are happily occupied.

Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (Last entry 4pm). Weekends by appointment.

the-kildare-maze

Prosperous, Co. Kildare
Phone: 00 353 86 851 9296
Email: thekildaremaze@gmail.com

The Kildare Maze

The Kildare Maze is Leinster’s largest hedge maze located just outside Prosperous in the north of the county. This attraction offers a challenging  and exciting day out with good old fashioned fun for families at an affordable price. At The Kildare Maze families can take part in many different activities such as; a hedge maze, wooden maze, crazy golf, an assault course, the zip wire and there's even a sandpit for the younger ones to enjoy!

Opening Hours: Saturday 29th October to 6th November, 12pm - 6pm.

Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens & St. Fiachras Garden

Tully, Kildare Town, Co. Kildare
Phone: 00 353 45 521 617
Email: reservations@instourism.ie

The Irish National Stud & Gardens

A great way to spend a day with  the kids is at the Irish National Stud and Gardens.  This wonderful attraction is set in acres of landscaped gardens and children can really explore around the winding paths of the Japanese Gardens and St. Fiachra's Garden before playing in the bespoke playground which includes a coffee shop on site!

Find out more at www.irishnationalstud.ie

taghadoe-round-tower-featured

Taghadoe Round Tower, Maynooth

taghadoe-round-tower

One of Maynooths oldest surviving monuments, Taghadoe Round Tower was part of an old monastic settlement and dates back to the 6th Century.

Its primary purpose was defence against local pillagers and Viking invasions but it was also used as a mark of the existence of a religious settlement. Among the ruins stands an early monastic church. The round tower itself has been renovated to some extent, however its roof was never replaced. A door stands 12ft above ground level where during times of invasion or plundering, when the warning was raised, the monks would gather all their sacred possessions and climb into the tower and pull the ladder up. This meant that there was only one entrance to defend which would have been relatively out of reach of the enemy.

The tower was used for about 1000 years but was left in ruins by the 17th Century.

The Taghadoe Round Tower is featured on the Kildare Monastic Trail available from  abarta.

How to get there

It lies east of the R407, 8km southwest of Maynooth. Access to the site is free & parking is extremely limited.

OSI Discovery Series Map 50: N 9234 3456.

Latitude: 53° 21' 12" N / Longitude: 6° 36' 47" W

 

oughterard-round-tower-and-cemetery-featured

Oughterard

oughterard-round-tower

Oughterard Round Tower and Cemetery

The site, in the community of Ardclough, is a National Monument; it includes a castle dating from 1636 and a church from c. 1189.  The Round Tower is set on an elevated site in a beautifully well-maintained graveyard with a ruined late medieval barrel vault chapel (c. 1400's).  Set into the side of the ridge with beautiful views of the Wicklow Mountains, Oughterard was the site of an important Anglo-Norman manor but there are no references to the castle here until 1636. The tower stands at 9.5 meters tall.

The parish church was granted to St. Thomas' Abbey in Dublin before 1189 and stayed in their possession for the next 400 years. In 1540 it was said to be in need of repair and in 1576 it was being leased to Sir Henry Ratcliff. In 1596 it was granted to Richard Hardings. This church on site houses vaults belonging to Arthur Guinness, who is now buried here.

The Oughterard Round Tower is featured on the Kildare Monastic Trail available from abarta.

How to get there

It lies east of the N7, 4km southeast of Sallins. Access to the site is free.

OSI Discovery Series Map 50: N 9566 2624.

Latitude: 53° 16' 41" N / Longitude: 6° 33' 57" W

Find out more about Oughterard here

clane-featured

The Abbeys of Clane

Clane was at the centre of ecclesiastical operations in Kildare due to it's strategic location on the River Liffey and close to Dublin.

Clane

St. Ailbhe's Monastery

The beginning of the history of Clane dates from about 520 AD, when St Ailbhe, Bishop of Ferns founded Clane Abbey which predates St. Patrick’s. This is one of Ireland's oldest monastic sites. It remained an important ecclesiastical site until the 13th Century when the Franciscan Friary was built in the town. The abbeys basic medieval structure was restored in the 1970's by Clane Community Council and the grounds of the abbey landscaped into a Garden of Remembrance. 

Find out more about St. Ailbhe here

clane-heritage-collage

The Clane Friary

Founded in 1258 by Gerald Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald (Lord Offaly) as a friary for the Franciscian Order. The ruins of this abbey stand close to the river Liffey, just off the main street in Clane.  A damaged effigy of a knight on the site is said to be that of Lord Offaly himself. The friary was suppressed in 1536 by Henry VIII although the friars stayed on until the it was completely destroyed in c. 1550. There are information boards and plaques on the site to help interpret it for visitors to Clane as only the remains of the Friary Church are visible today.

Find out more about Clane Franciscian Friary here

 

Clane is featured on the Kildare Monastic Trail available from abarta heritage. 

How to get there

Clane lies southeast of the N4, find out how to get there on our Clane town page.

Access to both sites is free.

 

moone-high-cross-featured

Moone High Cross


picture-446-3

Moone High Cross

The Moone High Cross is the second tallest high cross in Ireland and it is said to be one of the best examples in the country.  It is divided into three parts, the upper, middle and base. In 1893 the middle part was discovered and reunited with the remaining parts which were originally found in the ruins of the medieval church in 1835.  Today, the complete cross stands at 17.5 feet (5.3 meters).

There are different scenes depicted on the cross; Daniel in the lions pit, the three children in the fiery furnace and the miracle of the loaves and fishes amongst them. The monastery is believed to have been founded by St. Palladius in the 5th century, dedicated to St. Columcille in the 6th and the cross, constructed from granite, is reputed to date from the 8th century.

The Moone High Cross is featured on the Kildare Monastic Trail available from abarta.

How to get there

Take N9 South for Carlow & follow signs for Moone.
Drive through Moone Village turning right at the sign for the High Cross.
(Please note, this site can be difficult to find - feel free to ask for directions once in Moone)

OSI Discovery OS. Map: 55 S 789 927.

Find out more about Moone High Cross here


castledermot-featured

Castledermot Monastic Site & Friary


castledermot

 

Castledermot Monastic Site

The monastic site of Castledermot was founded by St. Diarmuid in c.812, although there is evidence to suggest that hermitages may have existed here since the 6th century.

St. James’ Church of Ireland Church now stands on the site of the original monastery. The construction of a 20m high round tower and the presence of two ornate 10th century high crosses indicate the site’s wealth and importance. A Romanesque stone church also formed part of the monastery. However, today only a well carved doorway survives. The community’s wealth attracted some unwanted attention, and Viking raids are recorded in the Annals for the years c.841 and 867. The hogsback stone burial in the graveyard is another indication of contact with the Vikings.

After the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169, Walter de Riddlesford was granted the barony of Kilkea. Tristledermot, as it was then known, was established as a medieval borough beside the existing monastery. De Riddlesford constructed a castle in the town. This was then rebuilt in 1485 by the Earl of Kildare. It was at this time that the name of the settlement was changed to Castledermot. The castle was destroyed by Cromwellian forces in 1650 and no remains of the building have yet been found.

Tristledermot quickly became a place of administrative importance, particularly in the 14th century. From the early days of the Anglo-Norman colony, Great Councils were held where King’s officers met with the chief magnates of the land. These gradually evolved into parliamentary sessions. The first documentary reference to an Irish parliament was a meeting at Tristledermot in 1264. A structure known as the Parliament Building was located on the market square until the 18th century.

Although the settlement was on the main route from Dublin to Kilkenny, it was also a frontier town, close to native Irish territories. In 1275, the townspeople were given a royal ‘murage grant.’ This allowed them to collect tolls from people entering Tristledermot and pay for the construction and maintenance of town walls. The wall was completed around 1302 and gave Castledermot its distinctive lozenge shape. Access to the town was via three gates; Dublingate to the north, the Carlowgate to the west and the Tullowgate to the south. Despite the construction of protective walls, the town was sacked in 1316 by Edward the Bruce, in 1405 and 1427 by the McMurroughs, and was eventually taken over for a period by the Kavanaghs. By the late 15th century the town was at least nominally back in the hands of the English crown. In reality though, it was the Earl of Kildare that controlled the town. Castledermot as it was by then known was again sacked in 1530 by crown forces aiming to take it from Silken Thomas (son of the ninth Earl of Kildare).

Trade was always an important activity in the town with the first royal grant for a fair given in 1199. In 1393 Tristledermot was even granted permission for a mint to produce its own coins. Archaeological excavations have provided proof that the townspeople were involved in specialised craft activities including butchery, horn-working, blacksmithing and pottery making. There was even a locally made form of medieval pottery known as ‘Castledermot-ware’.

There were two religious houses in the town. The Priory and Hospital of St John the Baptist was founded by Walter de Riddlesford and his wife in 1210, just outside Dublingate. All that remains of this is a square tower. At the southern end of the town was the Franciscan Friary, of which the impressive church ruins remain. It was founded in c.1247. Inside is a rare cadaver grave stone dating to about 1520. Both of these houses were dissolved in 1541.

With the loss of both its administrative and religious functions the town became more dependent on its market function. By the mid-19th Castledermot was described as having ‘neither trade nor manufacture; the place is wholly dependent on agriculture, and on the traffic resulting from its situation on a public thoroughfare.’

This information is courtesy of www.irishwalledtownsnetwork.ie, for more contact;

Castledermot Local History Group
castledermothist@gmail.com

Find out more about Castledermot here


 

Like Us On Facebook

Facebook Pagelike Widget
places-to-visit

Upcoming Events

  1. Afterschool - Kildare Town

    April 17 @ 1:30 pm - June 30 @ 4:00 pm
  2. Kildare Derby Festival 2023

    June 26 @ 8:00 am - July 1 @ 5:00 pm
  3. Legends Museum - The Story of the Horse in Kildare

    June 26 @ 10:00 am - July 1 @ 4:00 pm

Upcoming Events

Contact Info

Kildare Town Heritage Centre, Market Square, Kildare Town, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Tel: +353 45 530 672
Mobile: +353 871900945
Email: info@kildareheritage.com

Opening Hours

(Lunch 01:00-02:00pm Daily)

Monday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Tuesday 09:30am - 05:00pm 

Wednesday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Thursday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Friday 09:30am - 05:00pm 

Saturday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Sunday Closed